Canada concludes 2007-2008 winter season with its best ever World Cup results

    - Conversion of fourth and fifth place finishes will be key to Canada
    achieving its performance goals for 2010 -

    CALGARY, March 17 /CNW/ - Canadian winter athletes concluded the
2007-2008 winter World Cup season on Sunday winning a total of 184 World Cup
medals in events that are part of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games sport program.
An impressive 74 athletes reached the podium this season achieving a
collective best ever result for Canada in World Cup competition. With 56
fourth place finishes and 57 fifth place finishes by Canadian winter athletes
this season, conversion of these results to podium finishes will be critical
to Canada reaching its goal of being the number one nation at the 2010 Olympic
Winter Games.
    In Paralympic sport, Canada is well positioned to reach its goal of being
among the top three nations at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games after
finishing first among winter Paralympic sport nations in this winter season's
World Cup competitions. A remarkable nine Para-nordic and Para-alpine athletes
won an unprecedented 47 World Cup gold medals in events that are part of the
2010 Paralympic Winter Games sport program.
    "Canadian winter athletes are rising to the challenge as they continue to
step up their performances on the world stage," stated Roger Jackson, CEO, Own
the Podium 2010. "Results this season have demonstrated that Canadian winter
athletes and the national winter sport organizations are committed to
achieving Canada's performance goals for the 2010 Winter Games. They are
working harder than ever to prepare for the intensity and pressure they will
face in 2010, and we now need to focus on the key factors that will help them
convert their fourth and fifth place finishes into podium results in 2010."
    In addition to ongoing projects such as OTP's flagship Top Secret program
and the increased emphasis on sport medicine, sport science and technology,
OTP will be working in partnership with British Columbia based organizations
to ensure that Canadian winter athletes have sufficient support while training
and competing in the Vancouver Whistler area. This includes close
collaboration with the Canadian Sport Centre Pacific to provide out of
province Canadian winter athletes with local medical and science support and
seamless access to local training facilities and services. OTP is also
collaborating with the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and
Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC) to help ensure that Canadian winter athletes
have sufficient access to the 2010 Vancouver and Whistler Olympic and
Paralympic venues.
    "Together with Sport Canada, the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the
2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC), the Canadian Olympic
Committee and the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Own the Podium 2010 will
continue to provide the necessary support to national winter sport
organizations and Canadian winter athletes to help them achieve medal success
in 2010," added Jackson.
    Among the contending nations for the 2010 Olympic Winter Games, Germany
finished first for the winter season with 230 medals - resulting in an overall
increase of 15 medals from its previous season. Canada finished in second with
184 medals - increasing its overall medal count from last season by 49.
Austria surpassed the USA this season finishing third with 173 medals compared
to the USA's fourth place finish this season with 152 medals.
    The 2007-2008 overall competitive winter season which includes World
Championship events will conclude in May following World Championships in
men's and women's hockey and curling, and ice sledge hockey.
    Among the 74 athletes that achieved podium performances this winter
season, the following emerged as overall World Cup Champions in their sport:

    Kristina Groves    (Ottawa, ON)      Long Track Speed Skating - 1500m
    Kimberly Joines    (Edmonton, AB)    Para-alpine - sitting skier category
    Steve Omischl      (Kelowna, BC)     Freestyle skiing - aerials
    Maelle Ricker      (Squamish, BC)    Snowboard - boardercross
    Chris Williamson   (Markham, ON)     Para-alpine - visually impaired AND
    Nick Brush (Guide) (Panorama, BC)    Para-alpine - visually impaired X
    Lauren             (North
     Woolstencroft      Vancouver, BC)   Para-alpine - standing skier
    Jeremy Wotherspoon (Red Deer, AB)    Long Track Speed Skating - 500m

    World Cup results for the 2007-2008 season are available at Please note that the results database on the
website differs slightly due to the inclusion of non-Olympic disciplines of
freestyle dual moguls and half pipe as well as the sprint skate cross country
skiing results.

    Own the Podium 2010 (OTP) is a winter sport technical initiative designed
to help Canada become the number one nation at the 2010 Olympic Winter Games
(total medal count) and to place among the top three nations (gold medal
count) at the 2010 Paralympic Winter Games. The initiative is a partnership of
Canada's 13 winter national sport organizations, the Canadian Olympic
Committee, the Canadian Paralympic Committee, Sport Canada and the Vancouver
Organizing Committee for the 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (VANOC).
    One-half of the $110 million in funding, which began in 2005, originates
from the Government of Canada, through Sport Canada ($55 million). VANOC is
raising the other half ($55 million) through corporate and provincial support.
Bell Canada is the founding corporate partner and the other corporate partners
include General Motors of Canada, Hbc, McDonald's Canada, Petro-Canada, RBC
Financial Group and RONA. The governments of British Columbia and Ontario are
the first provinces to make a financial contribution to OTP.

For further information:

For further information: Lisette Johnson Stapley, Communications
Manager, Own the Podium 2010, Tel. (403) 202-6314, Mobile (403) 589-3258,; Steven Hills, Canadian Sport Centre
Pacific, Tel. (604) 838-9492,; Norma Reveler, Canadian
Paralympic Committee, Tel. (613) 569-4333 x. 227,

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